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About the Author
Duncan James Williamson was born in Furnace, Argyllshire; the son, grandson and great-grandson of nomadic tinsmiths. He was one of the last true traveller Scotsmen, and the best known of Scotland's storytellers. The seventh of 16 children, he was widely reported to have born 'under a tree', as he told it, by Loch Fyne in Argyll. After leaving school at 14, he became apprentice to a stonemason and dry-stone dyker, Neil MacCallum, in Argyll. MacCallum told stories in English with Scots Gaelic punctuations. Williamson's stories would cover similar linguistic terrain, but with traveller "cover-tongue," or cant, interspersed for good measure. He took to the road, obtaining agricultural work here, learning horse-dealing there, picking up songs and stories as he went, and overlaying the versions he knew with new ones to make them wholly his own. Williamson's autobiography, "The Horsieman: Memories of a Traveller, 1928-1958" (1994), tells tales of horse-whispering from another age.